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From the week of August 15, 2002

Jason Sheehan, your new restaurant critic, spends more time talking about himself and his "travel oddysey" ("On the Road," July 25) than about the food at the restaurants he has reviewed. There is no sense of the menu offerings, and I could care less about green chili in New Mexico and the car he drove.

I guess I don't have to get to the grocery store to pick up Westword on Thursdays. I can just wait till Friday and read what Kyle has to say in the Post!

Judy Karp
via the Internet

Little favors: I so thought I would miss Kyle Wagner; what a pleasant surprise to get Jason Sheehan. I applaud his efforts to let us in on the special little eateries. I would never venture into an Olive Garden! I may even break my vow and venture to Aurora for Narayan's ("Paint the Town," August 8).

My life circumstances require kid-friendly places now. I would really appreciate a comment about that occasionally, as well. God, please tell me I'm not relegated to Happy Meals and other gimmicky glop! Thanks, Jason, and welcome to Denver.

Alison Laevey
Denver

Snob snub: Allow me to add to the chorus of complaints regarding Jason Sheehan's intolerably pretentious and self-important food writing. I must say I am impressed that he was able to even write the review for Maruti Narayan's what with all the distraction from the food "whispering," "hissing" and "sighing" (yet not "raising its voice"). Also, it is quite admirable that he takes the time to explain the dynamic of foreign cuisine consumption to all of the "pasty suburbanites" here in Denver ("...sometimes you taste something you've never experienced before, something for which you have no frame of reference"). Interesting that he later admits to sampling "dishes whose names I couldn't tell you even if my job depended on it." Surely his job should depend on such details, especially since he reminds us that "food is (his) life."

Restaurant snobbery comes easy to me, having lived in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Dallas; however, Mr. Sheehan's role as self-appointed culinary instructor to all of the hapless souls in Denver (I'm sure that, with a little coaxing, he will single-handedly convert Olive Garden-goers to paneer-eating risk-takers) is beyond condescension (and, more important, not fun to read). We all uttered a collective "whew" when Mr. Sheehan humbly admitted that he will "never, ever(his italics!) know everything there is to know."

Carol Spieckerman
via the Internet

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